Forty-Something Years in Ninaland

Apocalyptic Adventures: The Carpet Change Part Three…


Photo by Sergiu Nista on Unsplash

Ok, so I have a few things I’m required to do around the house. Let’s not call them chores. I’m not 12 and chores sounds so Little House on the Prairie. I don’t have to milk the cow or anything like that. You know what the most irritating thing I have to do is? Take out the trash!

Watering the flowers is second worst on the list.

I’m not good at either one of these things. Trash bags are heavy, especially when you are emptying out thirty years of garbage from your home in order to install new carpet. But my dad is blind with a heart and blood pressure problem and my mom has severe back and shoulder pain. That leaves me. There are still a million and one trash bags in our garage. I have yet to take them out. It costs around 400 dollars if you hire a junk removal company. Forget that. Even I think that’s outrageous and I don’t want to remove the trash myself. The city will only take like twenty bags at a time, I honestly don’t know how many we have.

So my parent’s bright idea was to ask our neighbor if we could put fifteen or so bags on their lot to give to the city garbage trucks. However, our neighbors are never home, so my dad said, “We will just leave the bags on their grass, they won’t mind.”

“What?” I asked. “Are you crazy? That is completely inappropriate!” I yelled. “They will think we are the dirty Indians who live next door.”

“So what if they think that?” My mom asked. What exactly is happening here? Am I living in another dimension, have we lost all decorum?

Anyways, turned out the neighbor had too many bags out themselves, so we never asked. Our other neighbor we suspect does not like us, since they put up a rope to define the property lines when our lawn mowing company started mowing part of their lawn by mistake. I love this town.

Photo by Hannah Sears on Unsplash

My flowers are another story. I don’t know how to water them without taking a bath myself, I get the water all over me. That is why I avoid watering the flowers and why they are essentially burning up. The thing about a dead plant is, you can’t give it CPR, there is no real way to resuscitate it. I’m sorry but watering flowers every single day is just tedious.

Photo by JJ Thompson on Unsplash

I’m an idiot, why did I volunteer to do this? My parents are constantly upset that I haven’t taken out the garbage or watered the plants on time.

You know what the real problem is? I’ll tell you what it is. I’m not as diligent as my parents expect me to be because I’m not an immigrant and they are immigrants.  There is a mentality in immigrants to work yourself to the bone and never care about leisure time that my parents subscribe to. Am I lazy? I don’t like that word.

Let me give you an example: So they send two dudes from Art Van to do our carpet on the first day. These fellows are fellow Americans, they seem nice and stuff. However, they took eight hours to carpet one room. Then they complained about the heaviness of the furniture to their boss.

So my parents are livid, if they did one room in eight hours, doing the rest of the carpet in the entire home would take the rest of our lives. So my dad calls the manager of the carpet installers. My dad raises a huge ruckus and they decide to send five Mexican brothers to do the job, they are all literally brothers. Not only did they did so many rooms in eight hours, I can’t count that high, they didn’t complain for one moment about anything. We gave them pizza and coke and they were overly grateful.

You want to get a job done, hire immigrants people. Speaking as the daughter of immigrants I can vouch for the fact that my parents worked harder than the average joe and definitely harder than I ever worked. That’s not to say anything against regular old Americans in America. We, the citizens who were born here, take a lot for granted and we believe very strongly in our leisure time. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.

While the boys were changing up the carpet I started to talk to my parents, but my mom kept interrupting me because she was worried the carpet guys were listening. As if they were going to write a tell all book about our family. Because we are so very interesting. I believe I was talking about a new man I met on the Interwebs. I was probably telling her that I summoned him with my writing, he found my blog somehow and we met via that. We did not meet on an online dating site, and that is something I’m proud of.

So anyway, I’m telling her how he’s super smart and very kind and my mother interrupts me again in Hindi. She actually made me speak Hindi to her and my father in order to hide our conversation from these Hispanic men who barely knew English. This is the same woman who believed that our phone stopped working because we gave AT&T a bad rating on a phone survey. She was convinced we were black balled from getting phone service from them because we gave them a one in every category.

So I start speaking in Hindi and it occurred to me how many languages were being spoken at one time in my home. The manager of the carpet men was a Lebanese man who was yelling at what must have been his wife in Arabic or Lebanese, whatever they speak in Lebanon. The Latin men were speaking in Spanish, my parents and I were mixing Hindi and English with a hint of Punjabi. For a moment I really reveled in how international our home had suddenly become. It reminded me of when I was in New York in Central Park and I would hear various languages when I took a walk.

All of a sudden I missed the world. Like the world world, this little suburb called Troy where I live is not that representative of the world. Troy is predominantly White, Indian and Asian. They are very few African Americans or Hispanic people. Even though it seems sort of international, it is a facade. Everyone speaks English to each other around town. In their homes, everyone speaks their native language, but outside those four walls, it is English all the way.

That’s kind of too bad. I wish the guy at the CVS counter didn’t know English so well and tried to speak to me in French or something. Wouldn’t it make life more interesting if you had a German dude who answered the phone when you ordered pizza? OK, I understand it can at times be difficult to understand foreign accents, like when you call a call center. Usually, call centers are either in Mexico or India. Even I have a problem understanding the Indian representatives at times. I don’t know why we get so mad about that though, we should have patience, they are just literally living in another world.

You know what I loved the most about the carpet dudes, we got them subway sandwiches on the second day they were there and they went undeniably out of their way to make sure all the furniture was put back exactly as it was supposed to be. They even moved furniture from one floor to another because we asked them to. They are technically not allowed to do that. Our furniture is heavy, mostly solid wood and stuff. Not an ounce of complaint from them.

They were just good people. We only gave them lunch, I wish I could give them a new life, a better life. They are most likely living in a one or two room apartment in Detroit. They likely send money back home when they can. They are most likely missing home and miserable. That’s the American dream, isn’t it?

You know what the truth is, I’m living the American dream. I live in a privileged neighborhood, I have so much stuff I need to throw some out. I don’t even know what I have, I’m such a bitch. When was the last time I appreciated this all? I complain about all the stuff I have to do and mix with my writing and teaching. But really, these are privileged complaints.

I am complaining about getting new carpet, and taking out the fucking trash and watering expensive flowers.

This is the first world.

I think I’m better than this.


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